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Migraines and Other Headaches

What Are Migraine HeadachesWhat Is Migraine?, How Common Are Migraines?At What Age Do Migraine Headaches Start?, Who Gets More Migraines—Guys or Girls?, Migraine Equivalents

I ‘m the youngest of four kids in our family, and the only one, except my mom, who gets migraines,” says Maria. “Sometimes I wake up with it — it's like a knife in my eye. I just want to go back to sleep, but my mom makes me get up and go to school. I sit on the bus with my head between my knees and I press on my eye. I take aspirin or ibuprofen as soon as I can, but some times nothing helps. When I get off the bus, I can almost hear the pain beating in my eye.

“I don't always wake up with it, and I'm not sure what brings it on. Strong smells can do it, so I tell my friends, ‘For my birthday, don't give me perfume. Just send me a card!'”

At What Age Do Migraine Headaches Start?

Migraine headaches may start as early as age two or even younger. The frequency of migraines tends to peak during the teen years and early twenties. Another peak occurs in people between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five. The older people get, the less likely they are to have migraine attacks.

Who Gets More Migraines—Guys or Girls?

In their early years, boys and girls get migraine headaches in about equal numbers. But after puberty, young women pull ahead. Experts believe hormonal changes related to a woman's menstrual cycle trigger migraine headaches. That is one explanation for women having three times as many headaches as men.

Migraine Equivalents

Cyclic or repeated vomiting, without any headache at all, may be a variety of migraine or a migraine equivalent. Dizziness, vertigo (the feeling that you or your surroundings are tilting or twirling), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can all occur without a headache. Children or young people with migraine equivalents may discover that as they get older, they experience regular migraine headaches.

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Medicine EncyclopediaMigraines and Other Headaches